St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Edward Mujica has filed for free agency and will sign with a different team next year. The Cardinals organization and its fans should wish him farewell with gratitude.
“Chief” Mujica was acquired via trade at the deadline in 2012. He immediately brought order to a bullpen in disarray. He became the seventh-inning man who held leads and passed them along to setup reliever Mitchell Boggs and closer Jason Motte. It was a winning formula for the Cardinals. Their record for the 29 games in which he appeared was 19-10. He had 18 holds with a 1.03 ERA.
When Motte had Tommy John surgery in spring training, bullpen roles were thrown into flux. Boggs, so excellent in the eighth inning, couldn’t handle the ninth. Enter Mujica. He took on the closer role and surprised many with his success. He was among the NL saves leaders all year, finishing with 37. He was deposed with a month left in the regular season when fatigue and injury took a toll. Trevor Rosenthal took over and never looked back.
Mujica was on the Cardinals’ roster for all three series in the 2013 postseason, though he pitched only two innings. His inclusion on the World Series roster was a sign of respect for the role he had played in the regular season. No one expected that he would actually pitch considering all the other options the team had on hand.
Players come and go in baseball all the time. Rarely does a player come in with as little fanfare as Mujica did, yet have such an immediate and important impact. Teams needing a bullpen stabilizer should give him a closer look.
Sara Lefebvre is a St Louis Cardinals writer for RantSports.com. Connect with her on Google.